A 4-billion-year-old piece of Earth’s crust has been found under Australia

A 4-billion-year-old chunk of Earth’s crust the size of Ireland lurks beneath Western Australia, new research has found.

This piece of bark is among the oldest on Earth, though not the oldest. This honor goes to rocks of the Canadian Shield on the eastern shore of Hudson Bay, which have been dated to 4.3 billion years. (Earth is 4.54 billion years old.) Because the Earth’s crust is constantly being broken up and pushed back into the mantle by plate tectonics, most of the planet’s rocky surface has formed in the last few billion years.

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